Saturday, February 28, 2009

Man Successfully Nails Jello to Wall

Today history has been made. After years and years of trial and error, John Buckenstead of 305 Washington Street, Columbus, Ohio has successfully nailed jello to his wall

Ever since jello became a household name in 1897, people have used the colloquialism, "That's like nailing jello to a wall" to symbolize futility. Well, now it seems they're in need of a new one. John explained his tactics as "unconventional and sneaky," but was willing to share his secret method with this reporter:

"Well, for the longest time I just tried to use more jello-friendly nails. Ya know, ones with marshmallows or fruit on entice the jello to stay put. Well, that didn't work. So I tried thick nails, long nails, short nails...and then it struck me. I just needed to be quicker than the jello. And, instead of just nailing right through it, I should make a wall of nails right below the jello. It took me a long time to learn how to hammer that many nails in so short a time. But I did it. I beat the jello."

Some of Mr. Buckenstead's competitors have called his tactics cheating, but he defended his claim:

"Look, some people think it's okay to freeze the jello, then drill through it and lightly hammer a nail through it on the wall. I didn't do that. That jello was jiggly, bouncy, and full of life. I stuck it to him."
(Frozen example=cheating)
Indeed Mr. Buckenstead. But this is not a victory for everyone. While some are calling it the "triumph of the decade" and a sure sign of the last days before the Second Coming, others are not so happy. Ruth Gipswitch, of Jackson, Mississippi was less than pleased. Not only had she been quite fond of the jello colloquialism, but the slogan of her bakery and dessert shop is "You won't find a better cake, unless you can nail jello to a wall." She had this to say:

"I thought I was safe. I mean, I tried a couple times just for fun to see if I could nail jello to the wall. Every time I failed. So I made that brash slogan. Now I regret it. I'm losing business."

Other people who have heard Mr. Buckenstead's story are at a loss. Some don't know what they'll use to replace their favorite turn of phrase. Some of the suggestions have made people cringe:

"It's like trying to herd cats" or "That's about as useful as a trap door on a canoe" just don't seem to cut it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wishing you a happy bday from Facebook

By now you should be familiar with Facebook. It is the soul-swallowing leviathan of online social networking. And yes, it has swallowed my soul. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm not alone. This brings comfort and distress. But, there are good things that come from Facebook. 

One good thing is that for some people, the only benefit to being my Facebook friend is getting a happy birthday wall post once a year. That is a boon. Having actual meaningful more commonplace interaction would be stifling. The 'happy bday' wall post is my classic way of saying, "I can read the reminder list on the right side of my home page and type in all lowercase one and a half words and click my mouse once." But some people are more blessed than others in this bestowal of positive birthday wishes. For people I don't know all that well, or let's be honest, don't care too much about, I usually just write "happy bday," copy and paste it and post it on the next wall of a similar acquaintance. However, for those people who I actually know and love I might even write something like, "Happy birthday John," or "Hope you have a good one chief." As you can see, in both of these instances I actually capitalize some letters, and even write a complete sentence. The message is individualized with the name, or an endearing pseudonym like 'chief,' 'slugger,' 'tiger,' or 'kiddo.'

The yearly birthday wish may seem trivial to some of you, but I suggest that it is more than what I alluded to. Think of it as self-validation. Think of it as an honest expression from someone who actually exists and also recognizes that you exist, and, even have a birthday. Sure you put your birthday in your profile information so I don't have to really remember it, but I did take the time to write one and a half words on your wall. I didn't hire any robots or spiders or other spam systems to do it for me. My fingers actually pressed down on the keys. Really. You're welcome.
But of course that isn't to say that I only validate humans. How many of you are friends with dogs or other pets? Me too.

Getting into a relationship: Game of Cat and Mouse

I put up a poll a couple days ago about what kind of topics people would like to hear about. Even though I know there are at times hundreds of people reading this blog daily, only four people voted. One person voted for 'random crap,' while two (presumably women) voted for 'relationships', and one voted for 'politics/economics.' No one voted for 'social issues.' But, inevitably through the random crap satire, politics, economics, and relationship topics I will address social issues in one way or another. It's all interconnected. That being said, I'm going to go with the winner of the poll today and talk about relationships. More than specific instances I'm going to talk about how the sexes see different actions, events, and behaviors. I also might wax nostalgic.

Back in the middle ages and throughout the Renaissance, and even through the Romantic 19th century, men wrote poems, sonnets, sang ballads, painted pictures, made sculptures, and went through all sorts of trouble to woo women that today would seem ridiculous if not stalkerish. With the enlightenment, women's movements, and liberal democracy, these traditions of wooing, along with chivalry have in large part been destroyed, or at least become somewhat muted.
Men are however, generally expected to take the initiative. They are the ones who are expected to ask women out. But, while some women claim this as sexist patriarchalism, most women want it. Why? Because it's a risky proposition asking someone out. The man could say no, and it could end up being an embarrassing situation. So, if you are one of those women who asks guys out, don't always expect a "yes." You've put yourself into the traditional man's role, and he, just as you do, has the same right to say, "No."

On that same vein, there is also another silly philosophy that I've noticed most supposedly "nice" women have. That is, to always say "yes" to a first date. While I think it's decent of you that you're willing to give him a chance and be cordial, sometimes you can just tell from the get-go that it's not going to work out. And, there's really nothing wrong with that. You most likely have enough discernment to make an educated decision. Don't play games and lead a guy on, even if it is "just one date," because, quite often it can become two or three, you're not interested in him at all, he is oblivious to your subtle hints, and you don't know how to get off the hook without hurting his feelings. This is where directness is most needed. So that you don't get stuck with some guy you do not care for, and so that he does not end up getting too emotionally invested, all the while wasting his time, heart beats, and money, end it soon. Learn to say "No." It is much more compassionate and humane to nip it in the bud than let it drag on. It's better for everyone. So, in a nutshell, transparency is good. You're not being any nicer trying to let someone down softly. Rip the band-aid off the wound in one fallow swoop. 

The next little bit I'm going to mention is communication. This is the main reason men and women have so much trouble with relationships and interaction. As I said before, directness is key. While some men are great with subtleties, hints, and nuanced speech, most are not. Both sexes see what they want to see, but men even more so. Don't expect a guy to be a mind reader. He probably cannot even read his own mind, much less yours. Be explicit in your communication. If a guy holds your hand, he's being pretty explicit. If you pull your hand away, he should get it. However, if you aren't into him and do nothing you are giving consent. Inaction is consent to most men. Few get the whole passive-aggressive/ambivalent female response.
Ok, I don't want to beat that issue into the mud. Just be clear. Quite often it's a power struggle, and men and women play games with one another. The man is interested, the women doesn't know if she's interested (or at least claims not to know) and so the man is not straight forward as in days of yore (with the poems, sonnets, and ballads) and plays the woman's game of subtleties as best he can. His rationale is, "If I put all my cards on the table, she's going to shove them in my face." So he either plays no cards or one card. Unfortunately, sometimes women can be just as thick as men, and think a guy is not into them because he hasn't beat her over the head with his intentions. So what happens is, because he is cautious not to play his whole hand, she thinks he's not interested and so does not reciprocate at all. Then, seeing she's not reciprocating, he moves on, because she already has in his mind. So both sides lose. All of this because of miscommunication. Many might say, "Well he should have been more obvious." But how obvious? If he were too brash she'd lose interest and think he was a stalker instead of a charming, clever, romancer. So we need to be more clear, but not too clear? The line is fuzzy. Seems like a confusing game of cat and mouse (and I honestly have no idea which side is the cat and which is the mouse).

There is no easy answer. Ideally a guy would take a girl out a couple times, she'd give him the right signals and they'd both say and do the right things and get into a relationship. But life is not cut and dry. People zig and zag. One day you might be into her, but she's not into you. Then a couple months up the road the situation is in the reverse. For anything to work, the time has to be right for both people. You both have to be zigging together or zagging together. There's no use in pushing for something that's not there, just like there is not a whole lot of point to hoping for something that's not there (I'm not saying don't hope, I'm just saying don't put all your eggs in one basket, be hopeful in general, not in particular; be opportunistic).
One day the cat and mouse will lie down together (although in this picture it's a rat)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on Chicken Man

You may remember a story I wrote back in December about a man who wanted to become a chicken through hormone therapy. Well now there is an update. This man also sought to be legally declared a chicken, but was dealt a blow today by a Washington state court judge who instead of legally declaring him a chicken, had him legally declared a Bobwhite quail. However, only one week later that judge was overruled by a circuit court judge on the grounds that the prior judge was clinically insane and legally unfit to oversee the case, because, according to the circuit court judge, "It was quite obvious that the man more closely resembled a wood duck."
The man/chicken/Bobwhite quail/wood duck in question was born Leroy Jones. However, it is still unclear what his name will be once he gains full bird status. However, the birdman's psyche has been severely shaken as this devastating series of court rulings have come down. Rumors have it that the birdman might actually sue both of the judges for emotional damages in order to cover his psychiatry bills.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tribute to Blondness

Stereotypes are unfair right? Of course they are...sometimes...sort of. I mean, there are plenty of really intelligent blondes out there right? Well, after seeing a few videos on youtube, I'm starting to believe that blonde stereotypes are almost as concretely based in reality as say, gravity. Here are a few samplings:

Yes, France is a country.

This one is famously stupid, but is classic. I writhe in pain every time I watch it.

This commercial is marvelous.

A common misconception is that men prefer blondes to brunettes. But, the statistics say otherwise. But even if that were true, with instances like these, what makes blondes more attractive? Is it because they have more fun? Sure they say blondes have more fun, but do they know it? Here's a blonde lady washing her car (obviously having fun):

That should about wrap it up for our tribute to blondness. I hope you've all learned something.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Are You Not Entertained?: Facetiousness and Waggishness

At times I think I put more into this blog than you do reader. I mean, it seems I just write, post videos and random pictures for your entertainment. Some might say, "But don't you love writing? Isn't your blog like some delicious daily therapy that makes you somehow into a better person?" To those people I say no. This blog is drivel. And no, I do not enjoy conjuring up drivel for you to lap up. Do I sound like I'm enjoying myself? Of course not. I'm having the worst time of my life. I'm on the verge of packing it in.

To those of you who are now shocked beyond question, maybe this isn't your kind of blog. That last paragraph was soaked thoroughly in gooey, marmalade sarcasm. Mmmm. Sarcasm. Sweet, sugary molasses. And, amazingly enough I have just broached the topic of today's post. Sarcasm.
This is sarcasm according to me, so please be as offended as you like. No one likes you anyway. You're extremely unattractive and smell bad. The best I could do was this picture to capture it:
If I could post smells I would.

Sarcasm is a tool. Just like your lungs, or a stapler (don't you tell me lungs aren't tools). Sarcasm can be used when life seems to suck, or if life is just overtly and disgustingly chipper. It also can be used when life is neither up nor down, when you are mired in a swamp or dank bog of mediocrity. So basically, sarcasm can be used all the time. 
The place where I was schooled in the art of sarcasm was in New England. And, more specifically, the south shore of Massachusetts. I have some fabulously uninteresting theories about why sarcasm abounds there like the drastic temperature and weather changes, the stubborn and genuinely crass and lovely individuals that live there, the Irish and preppy Waspish influence from the Southy to Cape Cod, and of course Lobstermen (or any maritime career), but I'm not going to do that (because I just did).
But, what is sarcasm? Well, in short, it's not just a tool, but a way of life. It's the art of making the best out of a bad situation, relationship, pair of pants, stained shirt, or seemingly pointless existence. Instead of getting down when things suck, or getting down when things are great, or getting down when things are neither, or getting down when you're on the dance floor and your favorite song is playing, you relish in the situation. Mock it. Trivialize it. Put it into perspective. If you are pissed off, and someone asks you how you are doing, smiling and saying, "I just won the lottery, and I'm going to waste it all at the dollar store," will make you feel better. I promise. And the other person might enjoy it. That's the other part of it. Using sarcasm is a social event. If no one gets it, you're probably just being bitter or stupid. Sarcastic remarks or anecdotes need to be witty, clever, sagacious even.

Now, I'm sure some of you have heard how damaging sarcasm can be. "It will rot your soul." "It is only used by people who are pathetic or unromantic." Well those people are absolutely right. Sarcasm is like a cancer that will kill you. Seriously. My favorite actor and cousin died of sarcasm. 
But, if you're really good at using it, you can trick sarcasm into killing itself, or someone else. So in that case I say use it frequently. Especially around inebriates or reprobates. 


Monday, February 23, 2009

Being Reasonably Unreasonable

It's been a while since I've waxed philosophical. I'm expecting some readers, upon reading that last sentence to be groaning. Just like when your mother offered you some new healthy food alternative or told you to do your chores. "Look, it's muslix!" Or, "I know something fun you could do - weed the garden!" Well, this philosophical waxing will be even better. Think eating muslix and weeding the garden at the same time. I bet you're giddy.
I will start with a quote from Lord Byron, although some people might argue that it wasn't he who said it:

"The heart has reasons that reason does not understand."

I want to let that sit. Like butter melting on your hot pancakes. Wait. Do not think yet. The butter needs to melt.

Ok. What that means, is that reason cannot always be the ultimate arbiter in human affairs. It has limitations as does everything in our finite existence. We often laud ourselves or others for their even-keeled rationality and careful deliberation, and lambast others who do not use logic to deduce the best answer. Well I'm hear to say that is folly. While quite often you might think that reason appeals to everyone, everywhere, all the time, the truth is, it doesn't. There is truth (if we assume right now that that is the goal of reason, to attain truth) in art, poetry, music, love, and irrationality as a whole. But I suppose saying all that begs another question. What is irrational? And can we at times act rationally while doing something seemingly irrational? The answer is yes. Because, while saving one's brother or mother from harm might seem rational, unconnected with anything else, if it comes down to saving one's brother versus saving an entire village, rationality would have us choose the village. Perhaps that isn't the best example but it brings me to an important point. The truth that escapes reason is the truth of the particular, the love of one's own, the value in honor. The truth that reason strives for is abstract, general, and universal. The problem is, we cannot reasonably say one is always better. Reason wouldn't allow it. Or would it?

I do not want to ask too many questions. But what I do want to point out is that passion, emotion, art, love, instinct, yearning and many more things fall outside the realm of reason and yet are just as, if not at times more important than reason. Being reasonable is balancing your reason with your irrationality. Here is an example that will appeal to you:
Let's say you go to a family reunion. At this reunion everyone poses for a group picture. In this picture everyone is wearing coordinated outfits, is smiling, and has a marvelously picturesque background behind them. The photographer snaps the picture. But, the picture doesn't really satisfy. It doesn't hold the whole truth, as truthful as the camera lens has been to its subjects. Now, a little later, a painter takes that photograph and repaints the family. In his painting little kids are running around pulling on skirt hems and a grotchity uncle is elbowing someone next to him, and Aunt Edna is sticking her tongue out in disdain. While none of this happened while the picture was taken, it more accurately describes the family, its temperament, and reality as a whole. Extrapolating from this example you can see how simple rationality does not get at the whole, or, gets at only the edges of the whole and not the parts.
Now, enjoy your muslix, and I'll be back in a little while to check on the garden.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fake People Making Big Strides

This has been a long time coming. Over the years it was slow and steady, but now the numbers are ballooning. I speak of course of feople and fersons. Feople are fake people, fersons, fake persons. There is a distinction. Feople wander in packs. Fersons are lone warriors of fakitude. 
It was only 25 years ago that that a vast majority of US citizens were people. In fact, the statistics from 1984 show that 86% of the citizenry was made up of people, with only a mere 14% feople. But this is the year the tide has changed. The recently released figures for 2008 might shock you. The threshold has been crossed. Now, 52% of the US citizenry is made up of feople. But, sadly, the statistics are even less encouraging for Los Angeles, Miami, and DC. As it turns out, 1 in every 4 people in those metropolises are actual people. And, in DC the government is predominantly run by fersons.
It is a bit scary, but not entirely unexpected. Genuine people have been marginalized for years. People with original ideas, needs, and attitudes more and more just don't seem to have what it takes to stay ahead of the trendiness of the conformist feople crowd. Jessica Ferngully, a widely recognized ferson, had this to say:

"People are just too limited with their individuality and need for freedom. They need to get a grip and realize that the crowd is right. They must follow our supreme intellect. We know best. Dress like us. Think like us. Be ONE with us."
Although it might seem that Ms. Ferngully is an anomaly, after saying her piece, another 5 feople near her chanted, "Be one with us! Follow our supreme intellect!" Their eyes were somewhat glazed, but instead of eating the flesh of nearby onlookers, these feople proceeded to enter a trendy shoe store.

Genuine people however seem unfazed. "They'll just die out. They can't think for themselves. I just don't see how that can win out. Their strategy is self-defeating. I can run circles around them, and they just tire themselves out watching me," said a very optimistic person named John Gibbs.

So there is hope. It seems, from Mr. Gibbs' pronouncement that we don't need to fight. But others are more pliable to the sonorous, mind-numbing entreaties of the feople. Soon, you could be a statistic.